Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writers Talk with Caroline Hagood

It’s my pleasure to introduce this week’s writer, Caroline Hagood.  Ms Hagood is yet another writer I’ve meet in the Twitterverse—you writers out there who aren’t on Twitter, I must say you’re missing out on lots of smart & supportive folks.  Since meeting Caroline on Twitter, I’ve also begun to follow her excellent Culture Sandwich, an aptly named blog that I recommend highly.  Ms Hagood’s writerly bio reads as follows:

Caroline Hagood is a poet and writer who spends way too much time on the internet. She teaches English and writing at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. She has written on arts and culture for The Guardian, Salon, the Huffington Post, and her own blog, Culture Sandwich, among others. Her poetry has appeared in Shooting the Rat (Hanging Loose Press), Movin' (Orchard Books), Huffington Post, Angelic Dynamo, Ginosko, and Manhattan Chronicles. She has also written a collection of poetry and a novel. She's always looking for adventure, the perfect slice of pizza, and new creative projects.

& now, on to the interview:

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

As a weird little girl who thought everything should be either magical or funny, and when it wasn’t, decided to write it that way.

Describe the creative process involved in any one piece you’ve written—this could be book, a story, a poem, an essay, etc.

Whenever I’m working on anything, the equation seems to be writing with a side order of life. So my typical Sunday would look something like this: Writing with brief interludes of eating anything in the chocolate family; watching old Twilight Zone episodes; crying over little things; laughing over little things; going people-watching; reading some big book that I feel I should have read already; calling my friend to tell her something funny; and googling for entirely too long.

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process? (this can be publishing in any form, from traditional book publishing to blogging, etc)

I should really hatch some green plan to recycle all my rejection letters into something extraordinary. Yet my relationship to the publishing process remains…hopeful. I’m certainly grateful to all the people who have agreed to publish my poems and articles.

Actually, publishing takes on a whole new meaning when you start your own blog. I remember being nervous at first, then hesitantly sending my words out into the blogo-verse. Suddenly, I got to assume all the roles in the little play of my own publication. I had a place to air my interests and found myself with more of them than ever. Having a blog is like being able to place each of your orphaned ideas in loving homes. It’s pretty powerful.

How has being a writer affected your relationships?

It’s a wonder my husband hasn’t left me. Just kidding (I think). I like to think that my all-encompassing fixation brings new things to the lives of those I love. This is true on good days. On bad days, I can be a moody one—one of those horrible writer stereotypes that’s true, in my case.

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to—if any?  This may be a “real” or “virtual” (in more than one sense) community.

At this point, it’s definitely more virtual because most of my in-flesh friends aren’t writers. Of my cyber-writing-squad, I’d say we’re an obsessive, lonely, self-deprecating, goofy, excitable bunch, in love with information and putting together and taking things apart with our minds, who can take out a box of donuts in one sitting, oh wait, that last one is just me.

There’s one blogger in particular, Hansel Castro over at Hallucina, whose blog I love. I befriended him in the first flush of my blogging life, but have never met him, at least not in that boring, real-world sense.

What are your future goals in terms of writing?

Besides taking over the writing world and reinventing language? No, but seriously, I would like to be able to complete the writing projects on my exceedingly long to-do-list, which I revise in my mind pretty much all the time, but especially while on stopped subways, in boring movies, or while being chewed out by authority figures, which happens more than you might think. It would also be nice to have those writings be appreciated by the public, but that might be asking too much.  At this point, with Manhattan real estate being what it is, I might just settle for a room of my own.

Bonus Question: If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be?
It would definitely be a trombone. No doubt about it. I was never one for subtle.


  1. Thanks so much for the interview, John!

  2. My Sunday goes very much like that - especially the chocolate bit. Throw in a couple of cats and we might have been separated at birth. No. That's a stretch. Sorry. You are very more accomplished than I, in the writing sphere and I don't eat more than one donut at a time. (Cookies are another thing entirely.)
    "Having a blog is like being able to place each of your orphaned ideas in loving homes. It’s pretty powerful." Could not agree more!

    I think we follow each other on Twitter, don't we?


  3. Hi Dibakar, Caroline & Kat

    Dibakar: Yes, Caroline definitely has a gift with language--thanks!

    Caroline: You are most welcome!

    Kat: Thanks for stopping by--glad you got a chance to read this. I think you'll really enjoy Caroline's blog!

  4. Quirky, witty, interesting throughout. I do like the idea of the positive and creative recycling of rejection letters!

  5. I think collage was probably invented for the disposal of rejection letters. And just think of the Cornell boxes you could paper, and then fill with the hanged effigies of publishers, the broken pens, the petrified tears of frustration and all the rest of the detritus of the writing life.
    Thanks for the introduction to Caroline and the fluttery heroine of her poem. I checked out Culture Sandwich, pasted the link to my daughter, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

  6. Hi Dick & Mairi

    Dick: Well summarized--thanks for stopping by!

    Mairi: Ah yes, the Cornell box may indeed be the answer! I'm very impressed with Ms Hagood's poetry & with her blog overall--so glad you've discovered it.

  7. Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I really appreciate them.

    Kat: we certainly do follow each other on Facebook and I greatly enjoy your poetry blog.

    Mairi, I'm off to make my very own rejection letter Cornell box.

    John: thanks again!

  8. Oh, I love this interview! What an interesting writer!!

    If the sleet doesn't knock out my power, I'm off to check out her blog. ;)

  9. Hi Ginger: Glad you enjoyed Caroline Hagood's interview. I agree with you--a very interesting writer & blogger. Culture Sandwich is definitely among my favorite blogs.


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